The Vault - Fallout Wiki

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The Vault - Fallout Wiki
Why Can't We Be Friends?
Why Cant We Be Friends.jpg
Quest data
LocationVault 19
Given ByPhilip Lem or Samuel Cooke
Reward300 XP
Powder Gangers fame
Editor ID?
Base ID0013e5af

Why Can't We Be Friends? is a side quest in Fallout: New Vegas.


A group of escaped convicts that broke off from the Powder Gangers after the prison break have made headquarters in Vault 19. However, the group is divided amongst themselves on what to do and who to follow. Samuel Cooke, an anti-NCR revolutionary, and his group want to wage a war on the NCR, while Philip Lem and his group wants to surrender to the NCR as they see Samuel Cooke as overzealous and will only lead them to their deaths.


  1. Speak with Samuel Cooke and/or Philip Lem in the overseers' offices in Vault 19.
  2. Enter the sulfur caves beneath the vault.
    1. Cooke's objective: Kill all the fire geckos within the caves.
    2. Lem's objective: Find a way to block off access to the sulfur caves. (requires 40 Science, 60 Explosives and 3 C-4)
    3. Other option: Blow up both the the Sulfur Caves and the Vault. (requires 50 Explosives and 5 C-4, also fails the quest)
  3. Report back to Samuel Cooke or Philip Lem.
  4. Ending options:
    1. Cooke: Ask Papa Khan about the Powder Gangers joining the Great Khans.
    2. Lem: Convince him to surrender the group to the NCR, or ask him about joining the Great Khans (Speech check of 40). Ask Papa Khan about the Powder Gangers joining the Great Khans.
  5. Report back to Samuel Cooke or Philip Lem.

Quest stages

For Philip Lem:

1 Find a way to cut off access to the sulfur.
2Quest finishedReport back to Philip Lem.
3 Speak with Papa Khan in Red Rock Canyon.
4Quest finishedReport back to Philip Lem.

For Samuel Cooke:

1 Eliminate the fire geckos in the caves under the vault.
2 Report back to Samuel Cooke
3 Speak with Papa Khan in Red Rock Canyon.
4Quest finishedReport back to Samuel Cooke


  • You can find four packs of C-4 within the vault:
    • One is between filing cabinets in the clinic, behind the front desk; one is located between the two vending machines in the cafeteria; one is outside the underground entrance to the overseer's office near the doorway with the firehose box in a nearby pile of junk; the last one is located under a couch in the Blue Sector living quarters (not the first floor). The couch in question is located on the second room to the right and is on the far side of the room. The C-4 should be next to the right front leg of the couch.
  • Despite the fact that the convicts in the vault are escapees from the NCR Correctional Facility, they are not labeled as Powder Gangers, and while they will comment on you relative to your Powder Ganger reputation, it has no effect on being able to obtain and complete this quest. However, either convincing Philip Lem to join the Khans or agreeing with his decision to surrender to the NCR after destroying the caves will gain favor with the Powder Gangers.
  • Killing Papa Khan will cause the immediate failure of this quest.
  • The doors to Philip Lem's overseer's office will be locked after completing the quest by helping Cooke, and the only way to get in is through the cave. Upon entering the room, you find no one there and only a puddle of blood with unidentifiable body parts. Going back and talking to Cooke reveals that he has killed Philip Lem.
  • The doors leading to Philip Lem may not always be locked.
  • If the quest is completed by helping Philip Lem form an alliance between the Great Khans and the Powder Gangers, the vault will be empty the next time it is entered.
  • If the you use C4 to destroy the vault, the car park at the entrance will become a small mound of debris with smoke billowing out of it.
  • A detonator is not required to detonate the C-4 plastic explosive, although it is required to use C-4 during regular combat.
  • Having Boone as a companion will sometimes cause trouble, as he may start attacking the Great Khans, which result in failure, best thing to do is make him wait at Vault 19, since you will be coming back.

Behind the scenes

The title of the quest is a cultural reference to the song "Why Can't We Be Friends?", by War in 1975.


  • PCIcon pc.png PlayStation 3Icon ps3.png Xbox 360Icon xbox360.png If following the Lem quest line, the map marker will tell you to go to the sulfur caves entrance (now blown up and billowing smoke) to find and talk to Lem about joining the Great Khans after talking to Papa Khan. Lem is actually located in the Overseer's Office, and if you've opened the stairs leading to the sulfur caves he can sometimes be found stuck there.
  • PCIcon pc.png PlayStation 3Icon ps3.png Xbox 360Icon xbox360.png If you enter the Overseer's office from the elevator entrance (Hard lock) in the sulfur caves and open the Overseer's Office with the Average terminal, or just go through this route at any time, you may have some issues with your companions as mentioned above in less detail. When you ascend the stairs into the office your companions become confused and instead of following you up will run out the door back into the caves. If you are at the top of the stairs with a companion and run down they will run back into the vault. It is possible, however to keep your companions with you during this if you manually "push" your companion up and down the stairs. Just crouch and slowly move them and they will glide up, or down the stairs from your push.
    • This seems more like a path finding issue. Your companions will go back the way you came and reappear by your side a few minutes later, the same way they will if you jump from a ledge, (yes, it's an oddity).
  • PCIcon pc.png PlayStation 3Icon ps3.png Xbox 360Icon xbox360.png If the player chooses to destroy the sulfur caves and the vault, but didn't kill Cooke personally, then the ending sequence will still show Cooke still alive and the Powder Gangers terrorizing the Mojave.
  • PCIcon pc.png Xbox 360Icon xbox360.png After speaking to Papa Khan for Cooke and returning with the news, it is possible to enter Lem's office through the main door (not the overseer tunnel) to see the piles of bloody entrails. Returning to Cooke will not trigger the dialogue where Cooke admits to killing Lem; he asks you once again to go and speak to Papa Khan on their behalf even though this is now impossible.
  • PCIcon pc.png It is possible to re-enter Vault 19 on the PC version using the no-clipping command to pass through the mound of earth that appears over the entrance.
  • PlayStation 3Icon ps3.png The option to blow up the caves may not appear.
  • PlayStation 3Icon ps3.png If you have initiated the quest Oh My Papa and haven't triggered the conversation with Regis, the option to ask Papa Khan about Samuel Lem's group is not a dialogue option.
Main quests
Act 1Ain't That a Kick in the Head · Back in the Saddle · By a Campfire on the Trail · They Went That-a-Way · Ring-a-Ding-Ding!
Act 2Wild Card (Wild Card: Ace in the Hole, Change in Management, You and What Army?, Side Bets, Finishing Touches) · The House Always Wins (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII) · Render Unto Caesar · Et Tumor, Brute? · Things That Go Boom · Kings' Gambit · For the Republic, Part 2 · You'll Know It When It Happens/Arizona Killer
Act 3No Gods, No Masters · All or Nothing · Veni, Vidi, Vici · Eureka!
Side quests
New California RepublicAnywhere I Wander · Back in Your Own Backyard · Bitter Springs Infirmary Blues · Boulder City Showdown · Can You Find It in Your Heart? · Climb Ev'ry Mountain · Don't Tread on the Bear! · Emergency Radio · Eye for an Eye · Flags of Our Foul-Ups · Hard Luck Blues · I Don't Hurt Anymore · I Put a Spell on You · Keep Your Eyes on the Prize · Medical Mystery · No, Not Much · Pressing Matters · Restoring Hope · Return to Sender · That Lucky Old Sun · The White Wash · There Stands the Grass · Three-Card Bounty · We Will All Go Together · You Can Depend on Me
Caesar's LegionBeware the Wrath of Caesar! · Caesar's Favor · Caesar's Foe · Caesar's Hire · Cold, Cold Heart · I Hear You Knocking · The Finger of Suspicion · We Are Legion
The StripBeyond the Beef · Bye Bye Love · Classic Inspiration · How Little We Know · Pheeble Will · Talent Pool · The House Has Gone Bust! · The Moon Comes Over the Tower
Freeside & Outer VegasBirds of a Feather · Bleed Me Dry · Debt Collector · G.I. Blues · High Times · Someone To Watch Over Me · The Coyotes · Wang Dang Atomic Tango
BoomersAnt Misbehavin' · Sunshine Boogie · Volare! · Young Hearts
Great KhansAba Daba Honeymoon · Cry Me a River · Don't Make a Beggar of Me · Oh My Papa
Powder GangBooted · I Fought the Law · Run Goodsprings Run · Why Can't We Be Friends?
Brotherhood of SteelEyesight to the Blind · Still in the Dark · Tend to Your Business
OtherCome Fly With Me · Crazy, Crazy, Crazy · Ghost Town Gunfight · Guess Who I Saw Today · Left My Heart · My Kind of Town · The Legend of the Star and A Valuable Lesson · Unfriendly Persuasion · Wheel of Fortune
Companion questsED-E My Love · For Auld Lang Syne · Heartache by the Number · I Could Make You Care · I Forgot to Remember to Forget · Nothin' But a Hound Dog · One For My Baby
Unmarked questsA Bit of Slap and Tickle · Access Powers · All Fired Up! · Andy and Charlie · Arachnophobia · Arizona Scavenger · Barton the Fink · Bear Necessities · Big Winner (Atomic Wrangler, The Gomorrah, The Tops, Ultra-Luxe, Vikki & Vance) · Bounty Killer (I, II) · Brotherhood Bond (I, II) · Caching in at the Cove · Cajoling a Cudgel · Claws Mended · Claws Out · Dealing with Contreras · Defacing the Humble Stone · Democracy Inaction · Don't Poke at the Bear · Eddie's Emissary · Exhumin' Nature · Flogging a Dead Corpse · Friend of the Followers · Getting a Leg Up from Andy · Gland for Some Home Cooking · Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger · Hat's Entertainment · Help for Halford · Hidden Valley computer virus · Highway to the Danger Zone (I, II) · Honorary Rocketeer · I Love Bananas · Iron and Stealing · Keith's Caravan Charade · Laurifer Gladiator · Lenk's Bad Debts · Lily and Leo · Long-Term Care · Malleable Mini Boomer Minds · Maud's Muggers · Meeting an Equal · Missing a Few Missiles · Not Worth a Hill of Corn and Beans · Of Boomers and Education · Old School Ghoul · A Pair of Dead Desperados (I, II) · Papers, Please · Pistol Packing · Playing on the Old Joana · Poor Meat Never Makes Good Soup · Powder to the People · Power to the People · Proper Burial · Razzle Dazzle! · Reach for the Sky, Mister! · Rest and Resupply · Ringo's Caravan Rules · Rotface's Loose Lips · The Screams of Brahmin · Silus Treatment · Short-Term Treatment · Smooth-Talking Criminal · Strategic Nuclear Moose · Straus Calls · Strip Search · Saving (or Savaging) Sergeant Teddy · Stocking Up · Suits You, Sarah · A Team of Moronic Mercenaries · Team Spirit · The Thorn Mayhem · Thought for the Day · Tourist Traipse · Trudy's Radio Repair · A Trusted Aide · Useless Baubles or Fancy Trinkets? · We Must Stop Beating Like This · We Must Stop Meeting Like This (I, II, III, IV) · Wind-Brahmin Wrangler · You Gotta Break Out a Few Eggs · You Make Me Feel Like a Woman
Cut contentIcon cut.png Cut questsAuto-Inject Quest · Bright and Shiny · Chip Provenance · Debug Topics · Jailhouse Rock · Meat of Champions (quest) · TempMan · The Thorn Mayhem · Underpass Water Purifier · Viva Las Vegas! · Welcome to Fabulous New Vegas
Add-on quests
Dead MoneySierra Madre Grand Opening! · Find Collars (8: "Dog", 12: Christine, 14: Dean Domino) · Fires in the Sky · Strike Up the Band · Mixed Signals · Trigger the Gala Event · Put the Beast Down · Last Luxuries · Curtain Call at the Tampico · Heist of the Centuries · Big Winner, Sierra Madre
Honest HeartsA Family Affair · Arrival at Zion · Bighorners of the Eastern Virgin · Chaos in Zion · Civilized Man's Burden · Crush the White Legs · Deliverer of Sorrows  · Departing Paradise · Flight from Zion · Gathering Storms · Gone Fishin' · Happy Trails Expedition · Prisoners of War · Retake the Bridge · River Monsters · Rite of Passage · Roadside Attraction · Sanctity of the Dead · The Advance Scouts  · The Treacherous Road · The Grand Staircase · Tourist Trap
Old World BluesAll My Friends Have Off Switches · A Brain's Best Friend · Coming Out of Her Shell · Field Research · He Came... And Went · Influencing people · Midnight Science Fiction Feature! · Old World Blues · On The Same Wavelength · Picking Your Brains · Project X-13 · Sonic Emitter Upgrade · Welcome to the Big Empty · What's In A Name? · When Visitors Attack · X-2: Strange Transmissions! · X-8 Data Retrieval Test · X-8: High School Horror! · X-13: Attack of the Infiltrator!
Lonesome RoadThe Reunion · The Silo · The Job · The Launch · The Tunnelers · The Divide · The Courier · The End · The Apocalypse